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Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

Tax panel to shake up system


Staff writer

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government launched a new tax reform panel Thursday that it said will increase transparency in granting tax breaks to various companies.

The panel, headed by Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii and consisting solely of ruling bloc lawmakers, will serve as the sole decision-making body for tax reform, replacing the decades-old dual-power structure under Liberal Democratic Party-led governments.

Under the former system, an LDP tax panel consisting of a small number of party veterans exercised great political clout and often ignored the recommendations of a government tax panel headed by a scholar. Key decisions on tax issues were often made in closed-door meetings of the LDP panel, a purely a private body.

Sessions of the new tax panel, however, will be "basically open" to the public and can be viewed through live broadcasting over the Internet.

The new panel will discuss concrete measures to review various tax breaks for certain corporations and organizations, panel members said.

Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the panel's deputy head, said the panel should discuss tax reforms for the benefit of ordinary people, not for certain business groups.

The tax panel will also discuss abolishing provisional gasoline and other tax rates.



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The Japan Times

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